i motorcycle to belmont in the early afternoon then drove the spare car to the watertown home depot to get some garden supplies: 2 50lbs. bags of black kow composted cow manure ($5.19/bag), 24oz. spray container of roundup weed killer ($5.27), and an 8lbs. bag of espoma plant-tone organic fertilizer ($10.98).

at first i thought they were sold out of the plant-tone. apparently it's a popular item as all the other varieties were available (holly-tone, garden-tone, rose-tone, tomato-tone, flower-tone, soil acidifier, garden lime) except for plant-tone. i've seen it before but never really paid much attention until i noticed they were using that stuff to fertilize the community garden plants during the spring garden work day last saturday. besides being organic, what's really so special about plant-tone? in terms of potency, it has a weak formulation of just 5-3-3. just for comparison, miracle-gro water soluble plant food is 24-8-16. however, plant-tone contains bio-tone, which is their proprietary mix of beneficial microbes. whether that's true or just marketing tactic, i don't know. but it does make me feel better that i'm adding beneficial microbes into my soil.

i was tempted to just buy some miracle-gro (in the past i've used both the pellets and the solution powder). but i checked the home depot website and it said they still had almost 90 items in their inventory. so i asked a worker there, and soon it became a 3 employee search party, as someone went out to look in the outdoor garden department, somebody else went on the computer, and a 3rd guy walked down the aisle with a wheeled ladder trying to see if the item was in one of the overhead storage shelves. finally they did locate where it was in the stacks, and one of the guys got on the ladder and pulled out a package from the wrapped pallet.

when i got back to belmont, my father was home. i helped him tie up some wisteria vines and cut some long and thick branches down to more manageable sizes for garden refuse disposal. my sister showed up with hailey, who was wet from having been out in the woods and splashing in some puddles. she rolled around on the lawn and then went to go lie down in a patch of dirt in a shady spot underneath the maple tree. my mother called around 3:30pm, asking for my father to return to the cafe so she could go pick up my grandmother and bring her back to the house. my sister left soon afterwards as well, after digging up some irises from the backyard to plant in her own garden (those irises originally came from her garden anyway, before it was hers).

back in 2010 i went crazy for solar lights. i also found a bargain at the family dollar store when they were selling for $1.50 a piece so i ended up getting 2 dozen of them. that season the backyard was pretty sweet, a perimeter of led lights illuminating everything at night. and then winter came, and i never bothered bringing in the lights to protect them, and they were covered in snow. over the years, i began to lose lights from the harsh new england weather. at one point i even bought some new nickel-cadmium batteries to replace the old batteries. but now 7 years later, thise solar lights have all died. they're not even worth salvaging with another battery replacement because many of the solar collectors are now foggy from weathering. i'm always interested in finding a new source for solar lights, but none are as cheap as the ones i found back in 2010. so today i went around the yard collecting the dead solar lights.

i went around the yard sprinkling plant-tone granules. apparently you need a lot of it as the instruction said to apply a cup per plant. i didn't think the plants need all that much so i used my own discretion. only to the hawthorn tree did i apply 2 cups. at one point i must've been standing downwind and instead of sprinkling the plant-tone at ground level i just so of dumped it from up high. that turned out to be a mistake as a sudden gust of wind blew fertilizer dust all over me. luckily i had my mouth closed at the time. but i ended up smelling like plant-tone, and i think some of that dust got inside my nose, because i smelled it everywhere i went. plant-tone - to say it politely - smells awful. not like chemical awful like some other artificial fertilizers, but awful like it smelled like fermented excrement or rotten roadkill. i watered everything afterwards, but the smell still lingered. it's going to take a long time for the smell to go away. an unintended side effect is dogs apparently can't get enough of the smell. later i saw hailey poking her nose into a flower bed investigating the stench.